Italy is a country culturally very rich and that has a lot to offer, from art, architecture, food and music. In this article, we are interested in the contribution that Italy has made to the world of music.

From classical music and famous composers such as Ottorino Respighi, Ferruccio Busoni, Goffredo Petrassi and many more! To the creation of opera in the 16th century, opera traditions developed in Naples and Venice; the operas of Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Scarlatti, and, later, of Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, and Gaetano Donizetti flourished.

Opera has remained the musical form most closely linked with Italian music and Italian identity. However, Italian music has also thrived in genres such as folk music, Neapolitan songs, funk, dance, modern pop, and imported styles like rock or hip hop. Over the years, a large number of artists have brought Italian songs worldwide success.

Famous Italian songs 

The history of Italian music is rich and diverse and this article will not be enough to make it justice. However, here is a selection of the most popular and famous Italian songs that we recommend you to listen to if you want to start listening to songs in Italian.

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1. Nel blu dipinto di blu by Domenico Modugno

Written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno in 1958, Nel blu dipinto di blu, known worldwide as Volare, won that year's Sanremo festival. The most recognisable Italian song in the world, Nel blu dipinto di blu represented a clean break in traditional Italian music, which began to feel the influence of American swing. In the United States, the song topped the charts for five weeks, sold more than 22 million copies, and won two Grammy Awards for Record and Song of the Year. This song has since then been interpreted by numerous amount of artists worldwide.

2. Azzurro by Adriano Celentano

A 1968 track, Adriano Celentano's Azzurro is one of the most famous songs in the world. Far from the Italian melodic tradition, Azzurro became a great success, even though it went against the rhythms of the time. The song was a success, topping the charts in Italy and abroad, and is still one of the anthems of the Bel Paese.

3. Quando, quando, quando by Tony Renis

Another milestone of the Italian song, Quando, quando, quando was released by singer and composer Tony Renis in 1962. The song was a resounding success and was presented at the Sanremo Festival that year. Famous all over the world, Quando, quando, quando has been the subject of numerous remakes and covers by international artists.

4. L’italiano by Toto Cotugno

Over 100 million copies sold worldwide, translated into various languages including Finnish and Chinese, Toto Cotugno's L'italiano is one of the musical emblems of Italianism abroad. It was presented at the Sanremo Festival in 1982, reaching the fifth position in the ranking. The song is featured in numerous films, both Italian and international.

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Italy has a lot to offer culturally, music is only one of the beautiful expressions of Italian. Source Unsplash
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5. A far l’amore comincia tu by Raffaella Carrà

An international success, particularly in France and Germany, A far l'amore comincia tu is Raffaella Carrà's most famous song. It is an innovative song about an unconventional woman who asks her husband to take the initiative on sex. An icon of eroticism and emancipation, Raffaella Carrà became the most famous Italian artist in the world in 1976. In 2011, French DJ Bob Sinclair brought the Italian song back to the top of the international charts, thanks to the successful dance remix "Far l'amore".

6. Musica è by Eros Ramazzotti

1988 single that made Eros Ramazzotti the most famous Italian artist of the 1990s. Many claim and affirm that he is the best Italian singer of his generation!

7. ‘O sole mio

The most important and best-known Neapolitan song in history. O sole mio was published back in 1898 and over the years has been recorded by various artists and in many languages. Numerous interpretations have taken place over time, the most significant and most listened to in the world being those of tenor Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.

8. Ti amo by Umberto Tozzi

Iconic song from 1977 with which Umberto Tozzi won Festivalbar. Top of the charts in Italy and abroad, Ti amo was one of the great successes of Italian music worldwide. Released in 1977, Ti Amo is a hymn that all generations have taken up over the years. Umberto Tozzi gives us a masterful interpretation of a typically Italian song, whose lyrics are an ode to love.

Indeed, while Ti Amo literally means "I love you", there is no doubt about the lyrical nature of these words and music, which makes everyone's heart beat faster. While French singer Dalida covered it, Umberto Tozzi himself did a version mixed with Molière's language in 2002, with the singer Lena Ka. It is the title Ti Amo (just those words, not the song itself), which is now used from time to time in the cinema.

9. Bella Ciao, A Cult Hit

In recent months, Bella Ciao has become a symbol, taken up by all generations, and sung by the most current French stars. At the origin of this success, the Spanish series La Casa de Papel, which used it as a theme song, and spread it around the world, in fact. But the genesis of this title is quite different.

Indeed, it was originally an Italian revolt song, which celebrated the commitment of partisans and resistance fighters during the Second World War. Since then, this song has been performed all over the world and has become a true international anthem, which we all know and recognize, even more so today. Artists like Manu Chao have delivered their version, to our great delight!

10. Con te partirò d’Andrea Bocelli

The same goes for this monument of a song, created by Francesco Sartoriet and performed by Andrea Bocelli in the 1990s. Originally sung at the San Remo festival, this song did not win the competition, but the global success it has met is worth that little defeat.

Translated into several languages, including English and Spanish, this song is the embodiment of an Italian success, which then leads to multiple covers. One could mention Donna Summer, who in 1999 brought her a pop-dance touch with I Will Go with You.

Here too, many films and series take ownership of the message, musicality and rhythm, to match their stories as closely as possible. If this Italian singer is known today, it is thanks to this track, a mixture of slow, vocal power, and Italian culture. So that's nothing to envy in English pop songs!

Italian songs to improve or learn Italian?

Start with a music style you enjoy

Whether you are starting to learn Italian or you are already advanced, it is important to choose music that you enjoy listening to in order to facilitate the memorization of new vocabulary and expressions.

It is always easier to tune in and learn with music that we enjoy, it might be easier to expand your taste in Italian music to start with songs that you appreciate at first.

Keep up with the top charts or back to the classics

If you want to take this hobby more seriously, you can also follow the Top Italian Songs chart which will keep you up to date with the music trends from Italy, and therefore show you the newest songs that are being listened to in Italy. This is a great insight to keep up to date with modern Italian culture.

On the other hand, you can keep it to the classics of Italian music and take a deeper dive into Italian culture and music history to get to know the most emblematic Italian songs. Or if you are very advanced, you might even be interested in a very specific genre such as opera or Neapolitans songs.

Music and songs as a tool

It is not new to help yourself and your study journey of a language through music, it is a great tool no matter what your level is. However, it must be considered as a tool only and not as a structured learning method to acquire a new language. Because music is very lyrical, it often does not apply grammar rules as it should, and this can slow your learning process or make you prone to important language mistakes.

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Music is a great tool to learn a language. Source Unsplash

Italian tutor to help you learn Italian

If you want to keep enhancing your knowledge of Italian, the help of a tutor will be necessary to give you some guidance to learn more advanced lessons on grammar or expressions and their use in the Italian language and culture.

A tutor can assist you and enhance your learning experience, especially regarding grammar, an essential pillar when learning a foreign language.

If you find yourself in London, you can already check for Italian classes here.

 

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Emma